ICAC arrests 15 in housing probe

PUBLISHED : Friday, 25 July, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 25 July, 1997, 12:00am

The ICAC has arrested 15 people including eight former and existing Housing Department staff, on suspicion of taking bribes from subcontractors.

More than $3 million was paid to officials to allow the use of improper materials for maintenance on Tung Tau Estate, Wong Tai Sin, and 11 other estates in the western New Territories, an Independent Commission Against Corruption spokesman said.

As well as the arrests, 25 other people were interviewed after ICAC officers searched 21 premises yesterday. The arrested include five officers from the Housing Department holding the rank of senior survey officer, senior clerk of works or clerk of works. Another three are retired, all former clerks of works.

A private-sector quantity surveyor employed by the Government on a consultancy basis and six subcontractors were also arrested.

The ICAC launched the investigation in 1995 after receiving a complaint. The housing officers and the quantity surveyor allegedly took bribes from the subcontractors.

The allegations also include turning a blind eye to the submission of inflated claims for payment, and assisting in the preparation of such claims, according to the ICAC. A spokesman for the Housing Department said it would co-operate fully with the ICAC. No employee had been suspended.